Sunday, September 22, 2013


In my week-long series trying to convince myself that UW will win at OSU this Saturday, reason #2 will be the UW running game.

The UW running game looks to be picking up right where it left off last season despite the losses of Monte Ball, Ricky Wagner and Travis Fredrick to the NFL. After rushing for 388 yards against Purdue, UW ranks 3rd nationally in rushing, averaging 349.8 yards per game. UW is getting big plays out of the running game and has a running play of at least 50 yards in each of the first 4 games. The average yards per carry in the 4 games are 8.1, 7.2, 7.6, and 8.9. None of the first 4 opponents have a defense anything close to what UW should see at OSU, despite what I wrote yesterday.

I had thought OSU did a good job shutting down UW's running attack last year at Camp Randall, but that's not entirely true. UW ran the ball 56 times for a net 206 yards rushing and a 3.7 YPC average. That average includes 4 sacks of Phillips for 36 yards. The 2 running backs both had solid days -Monte 39 rushes for 191 yards, a 4.9 YPC average, and James White had 8 carries for 33 yards and a 4.1 YPC average.

This production was despite a total lack of respect for the passing game due to UW starting Phillips, their 3rd string QB who in his only previous start in 2012 against Indiana was a less than prolific 4-7 for 41 yards. That's right, 7 passes and 41 yards for the entire game against Indiana in his only start in 2012 prior to the OSU game. Even with OSU selling out to stop the run Phillips was completely ineffective against OSU until the final tying drive. He completed 5 passes for 48 yards on the final drive, and was 9-20 for 106 yards the rest of the game.

While UW rushed for over 200 yards, they only scored 14 points. UW will need to score more than 14 points to win Saturday. UW did waste a few scoring attempts in that game when Monte fumbled inside the 5 yard line, French missed a 40 yard FG attempt, and UW opted to punt from the 30 yard line instead of attempting a long FG which resulted in a touchback and 10 net yards. The running game did enough to win if UW hadn't been crushed on special teams and Monte hadn't fumbled.

I know, I know, if and buts, candy and nuts. The point is that UW ran the ball on that defense, and they should run the ball on this OSU team.

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